USA & China
Jan 11, 2020Posted by on
This week onFacebook: Heralds a new era in the balance of power, it now being a global issue rather than a European one. With the end of WWII the United States and Russia wielded their economic hegemony in the West. This western world largely ignored the territorial advances of China. The Russian failure at European economic hegemony has now been replaced in the last forty-years by a resurgent China and the economic growth of oriental states. The balance of power that the USA and China¹·² now share is likely to lead to a conflict for economic and military dominance on an unprecedented global scale.
These two super-powers put their respective self interests ahead of their concerns about the economic and human rights of other States. Politicians in the West are already making choices about China’s plan to dominate global trade. Perhaps global hegemony, in whatever form it takes between the USA and China, will be a choice made between democracy and meritocracy as the global political forum.
The following posts are taken from the Economist’s lead article (1) and its associated links to others.
But it has an even bleaker form of dictatorship under President Xi Jinping and has taken to viewing America with distrust and scorn (2).
But confrontation is constantly spreading into new arenas. America’s campuses are convulsed by a red scare about Chinese spying and intimidation (3).
In the background is the risk of a confrontation between the superpowers over Taiwan, which holds elections in January (4).
It would take 10-15 years for China to become self-sufficient in computer chips and for America to shift suppliers (5).
1. Don’t be fooled by the trade deal between America and China: After three years of a bitter trade war, America and China are due to sign a “phase one” deal that trims tariffs and obliges China to buy more from American farmers. Don’t be fooled. This modest accord cannot disguise how the world’s most important relationship is at its most perilous juncture since before Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong re-established links five decades ago. The threat to the West from China’s high-tech authoritarianism has become all too clear. Everything from its pioneering artificial-intelligence firms to its gulags in Xinjiang spread alarm across the world.
2. China views Donald Trump’s America with growing distrust and scorn: However, behind that chilly, self-serving analysis lurks a series of angrier, more primal calculations about relative heft. These began before Mr Trump came to office, and will continue even if an initial trade truce is made formal (Mr Trump says he will sign one on January 15th). They will endure long after November, when American voters next choose a president. China has spent decades growing stronger and richer. It already senses that only one country—America—can defy Chinese ambitions with any confidence. Its leaders have a bleak worldview in which might makes right, and it is a fairy tale to pretend that universal rules bind all powers equally. Increasingly, they can imagine a day when even America ducks a direct challenge, and the global balance of power shifts for ever.
3. The new red scare on American campuses: The American government thinks some Chinese students and researchers are responsible for a great deal of intellectual-property theft. The ccp fears that people like Alex and Victor are contracting dangerous levels of democratic idealism. And China’s efforts to curtail the room such dissidence has to flourish in worries people who care about free expression on American campuses and beyond.
4. Taiwan’s China-sceptic president, Tsai Ing-wen, may win again: One question always looms largest in Taiwan’s elections for president and parliament, held simultaneously every four years, this time on January 11th: how to handle the island’s twitchy relations with an ever more powerful China. Many of Taiwan’s nearly 24m people have been warily watching the unrest in Hong Kong. Twice in 2019 Mr Xi declared that Taiwan should reunify with the mainland under a “one country, two systems” formula, as Hong Kong did. China’s ability to force such a solution on Taiwan is increasingly plain. On December 26th China sent its newly commissioned aircraft-carrier, the Shandong, through the Taiwan Strait for the second time in as many months.
5. Technological progress in China could still lead to fireworks: America, in particular, is unsettled by the prospect of Chinese technological capabilities that might erode its geopolitical dominance. Behind their legitimate concerns that China has stolen IP (Intellectual Property) and that some of its companies cheat, American politicians worry that China’s approach to technological development can produce results which America’s mostly market-led model cannot.
Referenced Articles Books & Definitions:
- A bold text subscript above and preceding a title below (¹·²·³), refers to a book, pdf, podcast, video, slide show and a download url that is usually free.
- Brackets containing a number e.g. (1) reference a particular included article (1-5).
- A link (url), which usually includes the title, are to an included source.
- The intended context of words, idioms, phrases, have their links in italics.
- A long read url* (when used below) is followed by a superscript asterisk.
- Occasionally Open University (OU) free courses are cited.
- JSTOR lets you set up a free account allowing you to have 6 (interchangeable) books stored that you can read online.
¹China, the Commerce-First Middle Eastern Power: They do see things differently in China. To begin with, what is referred to in the West as the Middle East is, from a Chinese perspective, the Middle West. And, perhaps tellingly, what is often referred to in the West as the Persian or Arabian Gulf is always referred to in China as the Iranian Gulf.
²Iran Plays Chess, the US Backgammon: Hobbled by harsh U.S. economic sanctions and a weak military hand, Iran has perfected the art of asymmetric warfare and carefully calibrated operations as well as acts of political violence, an approach that the United States 40 years after the 1979 Iranian revolution has yet to come to grips with.